Tilt (2005– )

TV Series  |  TV-14  |  Drama
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Reviews: 15 user | 2 critic

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Series cast summary:
 Don 'The Matador' Everest / ... (9 episodes, 2005)
 Leeland 'Lee' Nickel / ... (9 episodes, 2005)
 Ellen / ... (9 episodes, 2005)
 Clark Marcellin (9 episodes, 2005)
 Bart 'Lowball' Rogers (9 episodes, 2005)
 Eddie Towne (9 episodes, 2005)
 Jimmy Molloy (9 episodes, 2005)
 Dee (8 episodes, 2005)
Nicholas Pasco ...
 Testa / ... (7 episodes, 2005)
 Crackle (6 episodes, 2005)
 Skip / ... (6 episodes, 2005)
 Seymour Annisman (5 episodes, 2005)
 Henry 'Tropical Henry' / ... (5 episodes, 2005)
 Police Captain Bill Carruthers / ... (5 episodes, 2005)
Fab Filippo ...
 Dean Whitmark (5 episodes, 2005)
Norman Chad ...
 Himself (4 episodes, 2005)
 Luke (3 episodes, 2005)
Lon McEachern ...
 Himself (3 episodes, 2005)
 Pete Shurgin (3 episodes, 2005)
 Cathy Kwan (3 episodes, 2005)
 Eddie's Mother (3 episodes, 2005)
Hayley Lochner ...
 Young Miami (3 episodes, 2005)
 Stasiak (3 episodes, 2005)
 Randy Cioffi (2 episodes, 2005)
 Jimmy 'Gentleman Jim' Towne (2 episodes, 2005)
 Barthleme (2 episodes, 2005)
 Martin Shea (2 episodes, 2005)
 Blake (2 episodes, 2005)
 Philip 'Phil' (2 episodes, 2005)
Jennifer Ricci ...
 Dee's Hot Friend (2 episodes, 2005)
Vince Doria ...
 Another Player #2 / ... (2 episodes, 2005)
 Muff / ... (2 episodes, 2005)
 Billy Cadinski (2 episodes, 2005)
Chantal Vachon ...
 Reisha (2 episodes, 2005)
 Wayne Nickel (2 episodes, 2005)
 Deputy Mike (2 episodes, 2005)
Ashley Wolstat ...
 Beautiful Hooker (2 episodes, 2005)


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You're playing poker. They're playing you.






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Release Date:

13 January 2005 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


In a deleted scene which is featured in the DVD, Miami reveals her real name as "Ellen". See more »


In the final episode of the first season, when Clark is playing in the World Poker Championship, in the hand that he goes out of the tournament, the ESPN pseudo-coverage showed him as "All-in" before he actually declared. See more »


Don 'The Matador' Everest: If we do this thing, that's a secret I'd like you to take with you to your grave, and if you don't, chances are you gonna get there a little bit sooner than you expected.
See more »

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User Reviews

Cheesy, B-movie quality with a Bruckheimer/Michael Bay sense of contrived style
20 April 2007 | by (www.liquidcelluloid.blog.com) – See all my reviews

Network: ESPN; Genre: Drama, Crime; Content Rating: TV-14 (language, strong sexual content, brutal violence); Available: DVD; Perspective: Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4);

Seasons Reviewed: Complete Series (1 season)

Following in the footsteps of their first drama series, the controversial "Playmakers", ESPN's "Tilt" takes an unflattering look at the world of high stakes Las Vegas poker. "Playmakers" was an admirable failure, riddle with as many accomplishments as clichés. "Tilt" takes advantage of the national surge in interest for Texas Hold'Em, then turns around and bites the hand that fed it that opportunity. How dare the public not have recognized a game that has been around since the old west until now. There was some cynical fun in "Playmakers" take on football, but "Tilt" is an angry, bitter, relentlessly soul-sucking experience that is so single-minded in its attempt to demonize Vegas that the city could consider a defamation suit.

When family man and cop Lee (Chris Bauer, "The Wire") sits down at the high stakes table he gets cleaned out by Don "The Matador" Everest. It turns out that Don is not only a legend in the poker world, but a strong arm of the casino sent to make sure that the house wins at all costs. If Lee wasn't enough of a pit bull bent on bringing down Everest, three pro poker players (Eddie Cibrian, Kristin Lehman, and Todd Williams), who were also at one time ruined by The Matador, team up to bring him down during the national poker championships.

The poker action is as exciting as poker action gets. But creators Brian Koppelman and David Levien don't trust that poker will hold the narrative (a more talented team could have made it work), so they fill the stories with mobster, FBI agents, scam artists and a little murder mystery. Their Vegas is a full-on sadistic nightmare of a city, more "The Sopranos" than "Las Vegas", that sucks people in and eats them alive like a big neon monster. If the casino owners aren't crooked enough, the cops and judges are. Every few minutes somebody is being brutally beaten, casually murdered or tortured all set to trashing rock music. Nothing wrong with being loud, except when it is used as a transparent attempt to cover up a thread-bare nonsensical story.

None of the characters are the slightest bit likable. Everybody growls and snarls either out of revenge or detachment or sheer black-and-white evil for the sake of evil. B-movie staple Michael "pardon me while I never clear my throat" Madsen is the worst as Everest. This unconvincing tough guy has 2 purposes: threatening in a gruff voice and beating while yelling in a gruff voice.

The show is filled with monologues relating poker to life while saying nothing at all. On paper, on HBO or FX, this might not be a recipe for disaster, but Koppelman and Levien have a Jerry Bruckheimer/Michael Bay sense of subtlety and ESPN doesn't have the experience or sense of quality control to rein them in. Under their eye a simple poker revenge drama becomes a loud, tacky, empty-headed, testosterone-fueled piece of punishment. "Tilt" is cheesy, B-movie stuff – and not the fun kind either.

* / 4

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